Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith paid a visit to the Great Place this week to host a free youth NFL ProCamp at Hood Stadium.
During the two-day camp, which was Monday and Tuesday, boys and girls from first grade through eighth grade learned various practice drills, fundamental football skills and competed in a 7-on-7 tournament.
Camp participants were divided into “divisions” based on age and split into smaller teams for the drills and skills stations. Local youth football coaches volunteered to coach these teams, while Smith rotated through the various groups to help out and spend some time with the kids.
The ProCamp was run by Fort Hood’s Army & Air Force Exchange Service, which won the opportunity to hold the camp through a contest from P&G at the Fort Hood Main Exchange and Commissary.
Smith, a former member of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish who has been with the Cowboys since the 2016 NFL draft, also had a meet and greet session at the Fort Hood Main Exchange on Monday afternoon. This was his first time visiting Central Texas, he said.
“I just want to thank you guys for allowing me to come in, especially to spend some time with you,” Smith said to the campers. “We had a great time, some fun, we competed, we ran, we had some more fun. I just want to say I appreciate you guys. This is my first time in Killeen, Texas, and Fort Hood and hopefully I’ll be back.”
While some of the campers were new to the sport of football, many were seasoned athletes looking to hone their craft.
Walker Moore, 12, plays for the Copperas Cove Junior Dawgs football team. Even with his experience, there was plenty to take away from the camp, he said.
“I learned just to have fun when you’re playing football,” he said. “You don’t have to get angry even when you’re losing, just have fun.”
This camp was also different from other football camps Moore has attended, he said.
“It was fun,” he said. “It was an experience, meeting Jaylon Smith. It’s a competition and at a lot of other camps, there’s not a lot of competition, but there was competition here.”
Moore’s favorite parts of the camp were the 7-on-7 games and the “smokehouse” race.
“I went into the final of the smokehouse,” he said. “I came in third place.”
As a fan of America’s Team, Moore was excited to meet Smith.
“I was always watching him when he was a rookie,” Moore said. “It’s crazy because he’s really good.”
Each participant received a souvenir autograph from Smith, a camp team photo with Smith and a limited edition Jaylon Smith Football ProCamp T-shirt.